The carriages were widely used from the eighteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century . Several models of carriages have been known, some were used for public diligence, being simpler, while others were private, manufactured with a more elegant style. Today, they are no longer used for transportation purposes but we can still see some, in museums or at special events . They are also used on tourist walks .


Information of interest

  • Vehicle Type:  Animal Traction
  • Main uses: Tourist activities

What is a carriage?

The term carriage refers to a mobile machine that can be used to transport people or goods by land . For its construction, woods such as holm oak, ash or poplar are used.

  • What is a carriage for
  • Characteristics
  • Story
  • Types of carriage
  • Parts of a carriage
  • How does it work

What is a carriage for

In the past, they were a widely used means of transport. It was not only used for the transfer of people but also for the transfer of merchandise . Later, with the appearance of automobiles, their usefulness was transforming. Today, carriages are collectibles that are used only in certain events or for tourist activities .


  • It is a vehicle of animal traction .
  • It has a frame of wood, iron or with a combination of both materials.
  • The details surrounding the construction of a carriage could change according to the fashion of the time.
  • It travels on 2 or 4 wheels .


Apparently, initially the first carriages were built for war and later, for agriculture . Also, an antecedent of these were the floats used by the Greeks and Romans .

In the Middle Ages, they evolved and were perfected. Their harnesses were improved, which made it possible for them to be used as a means of transportation in urban areas. The car makes its appearance in 1605 while the stagecoach was created in 1640 . As the roads of this time were very irregular, it is presumed that the first carriages built were very heavy in order to make them more stable on the tracks. One measure that smoothed out the carriage traffic was the suspension achieved thanks to leather straps. Also, the use of steel strips and springs, made them a more comfortable means of transport for their passengers.

In 1660, the breaded wooden box and the hinged door were introduced to the design of the carriages. Later, thanks to the improvement of the tracks, the construction of the carriages was perfected and refined until they were made into a work of art . An example of this was George Washington’s carriage which had two lamps in the back, some beautiful green shutters and a toolbox located under the driver’s seat.

Later, in the 19th century, they lived their golden age until the appearance of the automobile. Carriages with new and lighter designs were built. In addition, its price was more accessible during this period.

Types of carriage

Carriages tend to be classified according to the number of wheels they have as well as their capacity:

  • 2-wheeled carriages: In general , these vehicles were drawn by a single horse and had one or two seats. Here are some models:
    • Calesa: A light two-wheeled cart pulled by a horse.
    • Convertible: Similar to the buggy but with a hood, it was created by Joseph Hansom. It was very popular during the Victorian period.
    • Dog cart: It was a type of car used to transport hunting dogs. Later, this model evolved and was used to transport people and goods.
    • Sulky: Light, simple and small transport, generally intended for one or two passengers. It is generally used in rural areas.
  • 4-wheel carriages : Generally, the front 2 wheels of this type of carriage were smaller than the rear wheels in order to allow sharp turns. They used to be dragged by one or two horses. Here are some examples of 4-wheel carriage models.
    • Surrey: A family-type vehicle with two or more seats. It had curtains on the sides for rainy days .
    • Birlocho: It had the particular characteristic of having the coachman’s seat on the outside and the folding roof. Inside, it had two double seats located opposite each other.
    • Brougham – This vehicle is named after its designer, the first Lord Brougham. Allows two to four passengers.
    • Lando: His name is of German origin. It is a vehicle with a hood that was deployed if necessary. This carriage was very popular with wealthy people.
    • Phaeton: Lightweight two-seat vehicle with open sides.

Parts of a carriage

Here are some of the parts of a carriage:

  • Wheels: They usually have 2 to 4 wheels.
  • Dashboard: This part had the function of preventing the water from puddles and mud found on the road from splashing the driver.
  • Scissors: These are two pieces of wood that form a fork and are located at the front next to the lance. At the opposite ends, there is a piece called a telera that serves as a support.
  • Wing nuts: These are the bearings located on the axles of the wheels attached to the hearth.
  • Master nail : This piece is a thick head nail attached to the front assembly that constitutes the body of the carriage.
  • Large rocker: It is a kind of crossbar attached to the scissors. At its ends, there are small rockers that are used to hook the horses.
  • Lance, rod or bar: It is an elongated and movable piece made of ash or elm and that is interposed between the horses. Its function is to direct the carriage.
  • Ballestón: It is a curved piece carried by the galleys that are in the back.
  • Bolea: It is a kind of stick with a ring in the middle that is placed as a cross at the tip of the spear of the carriages and that is used to tie the braces of the horses.
  • Contrarodete: It is a piece in a circular shape that is found and rotates on the impeller.
  • Horcate: It is a piece that serves to unite the collars of the knights.
  • Pole: It is a large piece of wood that crosses the cart lengthwise.

How does it work

In the first place, for the correct operation of a carriage, it is important to have skills in handling the reins. Therefore, it is crucial to hold the reins correctly . Typically, the most common practice is to hold a rein in each hand to make the horse flex as desired in turns.

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